Sony Ericsson PlayNow Android Apps


x10-downAnother day, another application store. If you’re a developer and you want your wonderful Android Application or Game to be distributed on the Xperia X10 when it comes out in the next few months, time to get moving! Sony Ericsson just announced that you can now submit apps and games to their one-stop content store – PlayNow.

Does this excite you? It does pretty much the opposite to me, because it ensures another level of irritating fragmentation that I wish didn’t exist. I can understand why a company would want to create a competing application store on their OWN platform but what’s the point in making your own App Store for Android when Android Market already exists? They’re obviously trying to differentiate but in my opinion this is counterproductive unless somehow they can work out exclusive deals for apps/games that wouldn’t also be found in Android Market – doubtful.


If you’re a developer you should definitely submit your applications to PlayNow, there isn’t a reason NOT to, its just one more step that none of us should have to take. A nice potential perk is that SE is featuring interesting applications on their YouTube channel such as Layar. Make something cool enough and you could be featured:

PlayNow is an existing Sony Ericsson service with over 70 million users so it will be interesting to see how they incorporate the Android aspect of the store:

PlayNow™ offers a complete multimedia experience. Consumers can access a full range of free and premium content via their mobile phone (over-the-air) or computer ( including applications, games, ringtones, themes, wallpapers, movies, full-track DRM-free music and TrackID™ charts. PlayNow™ features games and applications in the main menu, making it easy for consumers to find and buy your content.

[Sony Ericsson via AAM]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Speaking as an end user, Google’s Market isn’t very compelling. There’s no direct way to browse or purchase applications from a computer, the search function is annoying (e.g. try searching for a home screen replacement app and you have to wade through pages and pages of themes to find the actual app entry), the descriptions are very limited, etc.

    I hate to see so much fragmentation brewing but at least I hope it kicks Google into gear to make their own Market app better.

  2. I agree with your sentiment on this, Rob. With these manufacturer-specific stores we run the risk of thinning down the Android brand, creating a silo mentality among users. Currently, Android phone owners share a common enthusiasm for the platform, and this is one of Android’s strengths. Pity the developers if they have to jump through additional hoops to get their apps onto the SE apps list. Will we start seeing the same criticisms that have been levelled at Apple? On the plus side, it could provide a boost to app quality & reliability. On the whole, though, I don’t like the idea.

  3. As a developer, Google’s Market sucks big time! Can’t they just mimic what Apple does on their AppStore?

    Competitions are good, though more stores means spending more time on app submission and updates :(

  4. I’m with Anand on this. I personally will refuse to buy any Android device that doesn’t at least have the option of using the Google Marketplace for apps. However, to say that the Marketplace is pathetic is being too nice. The tiny app description area does nothing to tell you what an app is really like. There should at least be a way to insert screenshots. And the categorization leaves much to be desired, as does the search function. Google is normally so good at searches, but in the app store, it doesn’t work well at all. Come on Google, get your act in gear. Having tons of apps won’t do you any good if people can’t find them easily.

  5. @Brad A way to insert screen shots by end users or by the developers? Developers can already add screen shots to the download page for android apps, although I’ve only seen two at the most per app. Anyone else seen more than two?

  6. At Sony Ericsson we want to give our customers different alternatives to search and find cool and exiting applications. This is why we are expanding PlayNow to offer not just Java, Symbian and Win Mobile applications, but also Android. PlayNow will offer a unique user experience and some users will like it better, other will like Android Market. That is fine; the choice should be made by the user.

    With an increasing number of applications becoming available the establishment of new market channels is a natural progression. It is also a healthy development since the competition will lead to better user experiences, easier to find interesting apps and better prices. Just as we would never accept one store to buy our stuff IRL, why should we do it when it comes to phone apps?

    Rob, you got it right: if you got an interesting app let us know it and we might feature it in a demo. Check the latest demo where Santa is demonstrating a live video broadcasting app from Bambuser

    Albin Olofsson, Community Manager, Sony Ericsson Developer World

  7. @Ryan
    i think its limited to two screenshots, you cant add more. However, i think sony ericsson should have worked closely with google to improve the Market instead of making a new one

  8. I’m a big fan of Android, but the only reason I rooted my phone was to LEGALLY BUY APPS IN CANADA. Up until now neither Google, nor Rogers displayed any will to resolve legal/technical/orwhateverpreventsthemfromdoingitRIGHT problems. If the new store resolves this issue, I say “suck it up Google”!

  9. Yeah the thing is, sonyericssion is part swedish company and guess what the allmighty Google is ignoring the norther parts of Europe in a freaking big way. To be specific this means that in Sweden (or in for that matter Finland where I’m from) Google does not allow you to purchase/publish paid apps from the android market. You only get free apps. So I see a really good reason why SE wants to publish it’s own market. Though I have to agree with Rob on the fact that fragmentation is not a good thing. But come on Google take your thumb out of ass and allow us to buy apps! I really don’t understand what is taking so long. Apple app store was available at day one. This thing annoys me especially since I am a developer and would really like to publish some of my apps as paid apps.

  10. Maybe we should look into creating a better market than google. Any good webdesigners out there that want to create an Android market? I would think that there is a market for it as it seems that most of the companies out there are falling short. Maybe make a You should jump on this one Rob. Almost felt a desire to buy the domain name myself. :) I know a url like that would pull alot of ppl to it. I’ll take a commission for the idea. :D

  11. As an Android Developer it’s getting very difficult to manage my apps on all these markets popping up. The Android Market does need a little help but I really don’t see the need for all these alternative markets.

    Im starting to think it’s not worth my time to upload and maintain apps on all of these different markets because the majority of my downloads come ferom the Android Market and the downloads just trickle in on all of the other markets i have used.

  12. @Josh
    I can see your pain, and google being so big can afford to take their time. What if the developers came together under one big name, such as PhandroidStore or some other well known name that are associated with Android, that will allow people to go to this page. We could create a great system, and focus on usability, and then take it to beautify it. If enough developers think it is a good idea, to create that type or a repository, we can make it in the way that we think it should be instead of having to wait for the big companies such as Google, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, etc. Let’s make it so that developers make the profit, and just have enough for the store to sustain itself. Who ever takes this initiative with Rob and Phandroid, will be able to make it OK I would think.

  13. @Josh
    And what if the developers only uploaded to this repository and if the other markets want to have access to it, pays a fee to the developer to “link” to it? Developers would have to only upload it to one place, and developers would make money from the other market places that want access to it. Maybe even better, maybe just make it into a repository and make ppl buy from the other market places, and developers makes money for each sale because of contract between repository and market place?

  14. @ swehes i think that’s the way it should work. One app repository and all these markets can link to the apps or host them themselves. Im not about to try and maintain every update on all of these markets.

  15. @Josh and everyone else
    If you are interested in this idea of setting up a repository for all developers for developers to upload their apps send me an email at [email protected]
    Maybe we will just give the developers something that they sorely need to make it easier for everyone.

  16. if lack of global market is such a problem then why didn’t slideme take off?

  17. Surely all Sony Ericsson’s Android apps will also appear on the Android Market as well?

    It’ll only splinter the “scene” if it starts asking or encouraging developers to offers apps exclusively via PlayNow, right?

  18. This seems like a totally worthless idea. I feel like it will only pull away from the Android app store and make it more difficult for developers to put out their products. Why would you do something that makes things more complicated. Devs are already complaining about phones and such being different making it harder to program, now they are also going to have to put their app on another store so they can get their full demographic. Dumb..

  19. Did that lady in the video just wake up? Theres nothing wrong with a little hygiene. Try washing your hair next time and maybe even brushing it.

  20. So as of now I count 3 places to find Android Apps. Moto, Sony and Android Market.
    Humm this surly will get confusing for people new to Android. As a follower of Android since the first rumors of a GPhone 2 years ago I can handle this, but what about none teches?

  21. It is as if they don’t even look at what makes the iPhone so popular. It’s the simple UI and that everything just works – there’s an iPhone, whoever got an iPhone is the club. If they want android to be competing with iPhone then they should stop making all these stupid extra app store. It confuses people. I sell cellphones with contracts. How do I explain this to cellphone noobs?
    “So there’s two market for you to download things on. The Google Market and the Sony Ericsson PlayNoW Market. Some things you find on the Google Market others on the Playnow Market”. It’s just a mess.

  22. This mess is partly created by Google. Its implementation of Android Market on unlocked phones has issues with paid apps. Also the Android Market is not open to many countries for paid apps. Lastly the Market App is proprietary and doesn’t blend with Android’s open agenda. That means each manufacturer has to negotiate with Google (means $$) to put Google’s Android Market on its device. So overall Android Market is a mess.

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